John O'Shea

O'Shea expects more twists and turns

Saturday 09 April 2022 08:00

Former Manchester United favourite John O’Shea is expecting more twists and turns to come, as the race for Champions League qualification hots up.

Arsenal lost 3-0 at Crystal Palace on Monday night to cede the advantage to their north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Antonio Conte’s side currently sit fourth, on goal difference, with Arsenal fifth and West Ham United three points further back and also in the mix.

However, United – who are level on points with the Hammers - face Everton on Saturday in the lunchtime kick-off and could apply the pressure to those above us in the league with a positive result.

Arsenal host Brighton & Hove Albion and Spurs travel to Aston Villa later on Saturday, while West Ham are at in-form Brentford the following day, but O’Shea believes that focusing on ourselves is all the Reds can do for now, as we bid for a strong end to the campaign.

Top-four race: The run-in


How does the Champions League qualification picture look after Arsenal's defeat at Palace?

“Yeah, I think there’ll be a couple more twists and turns,” O’Shea told club media, when asked what he made of the top-four picture.

“You have to say that Spurs and Arsenal have the edge at the minute but we’ve just got to make sure we get wins on the board now as soon as we can and get the pressure cranked up on them, starting with the early kick-off against Everton.

“They’ll be fighting for their lives, especially after that Burnley result the other day [Wednesday].

“It’s looking more difficult as the weeks go by and the draw against Leicester could be costly too. We have to focus on ourselves, but if the wins come and it creates the chance to get into that top four, it’s all well and good.”

O’Shea believes United’s trip to Arsenal in two weeks’ time could be the most important fixture of the season.

The 40-year-old, who is currently coaching Republic of Ireland’s Under-21s after hanging up his boots in 2019, insists that United need to take it game by game until then though, with six points against struggling Everton and fellow relegation battlers Norwich a must – ahead of a game against Liverpool at Anfield too.

“Yeah it could be [our most important game]. I think they’ve got Spurs to play as well, so you could be hoping they draw and United beat Arsenal but, as I say, it’s that one game at a time.

“If they go and chalk off that win against Everton and Norwich as you said, and then focus on Liverpool and Arsenal.”

O'Shea will be part of the United Legends team to take on their Liverpool counterparts at Old Trafford in May's Legends of the North fixture. Get your tickets here.